Ex-FBI Agent: ‘Absolutely no intention to intimidate anybody’

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The ex-FBI agent standing next to Treasurer Dan Rutherford at an explosive news conference told the Sun-Times today there was “absolutely no intention to intimidate anybody” with his presence.

Tony D’Angelo, a longtime investigator in financial crimes for the FBI — including his involvement in the investigation of ADM whistleblower Mark Whitacre — said he did conduct an initial investigation of the claims lodged against Rutherford by an employee. D’Angelo said he made a recommendation that Rutherford conduct an independent investigation and suggested Braver & Associates, which is heading it up.

Rutherford’s office contacted D’Angelo about the matter late in the week of January 20th and retained him early the following week. D’Angelo said his involvement was “very limited.”

“I did the initial review and made my recommendations. There was a contract and now I’ve stepped out of it,” he said. “I attended the press conference with him on Friday,” because he did the initial review.

“At that point I was providing consulting services and helping — actually just providing my services. There was no, absolutely no intention to intimidate anybody,” D’Angelo told the Sun-Times. “I feel I’m the least intimidating person behind the podium. I think he wanted me up there because there was going to be an independent investigation — absolutely was not intended to intimidate anyone.”

Earlier this week, the Sun-Times first reported that the employee who lodged the complaint had resigned and said he was intimidated by the press conference.

“Did you ever see someone being flanked by federal agents like that?” the man told the Sun-Times. “I was completely intimidated.”

On Thursday, the former employee — who has already landed a new position — said he planned to file a lawsuit early next week.

This week, employees in Rutherford’s office were submitting to interviews for the internal review.

“They’re being pretty frank about it,” one source with knowledge of the interviews said. “They’re scared about it but they’re doing it.”

Regarding talk of an “executive summary” of the probe, news that was already drawing criticism, D’Angelo, who now works as an investigator for companies nationwide, said that’s typical in these types of investigations.

“That’s not unusual, when individuals are interviewed in a situation like this there are privacy concerns. An executive summary on the findings are somewhat standard,” he said.

On Jan. 31, Rutherford called a last-minute news conference where he tied GOP rival Bruce Rauner to a $300,000 demand from a Rutherford employee who allegedly offered to keep politically damaging accusations against the treasurer “under wraps” in exchange for the money. The employee has since responded to that allegation, but has so far asked for anonymity. Rauner has denied having any connection to the allegations and Rutherford has offered no proof other than an expenditure the Rauner campaign made last year to the attorney who is now representing that employee.

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